Plumber Said Draining of New Water Heater NOT Necessary

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Old 05-07-19, 02:26 PM
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Plumber Said Draining of New Water Heater NOT Necessary

Would like a few more opinions on this. Recently had my gas hot water heater replaced, (50 gal Bradford-White). When I asked the plumber how often I should do a drain/flush maintenance, he told me "it is not necessary. The newer units are pretty self sufficient." The drain spout on the new water heater did not have a turn valve, just a set type screw. Also asked about wrapping it with an insulation blanket, as the previous one had it. Again, not necessary. Water Heater is located in a primarily finished basement. Heat is only turned on when necessary. Rarely goes below 58 degrees in the winter. BTW, this is a reputable plumbing company that I've used a few times with no issues. However, I believe this guy was new.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 02:53 PM
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I installed a new 40 gallon electric water heater a few yrs back. It is the same physical size as my old 52 gallon water heater. The new one has a lot more insulation than the old one did. Mine also has some type of feature that recirculates the water at the bottom and supposedly doesn't need flushing but I still do 2-3 times a year.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 03:02 PM
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If sediment gets into or is formed inside the tank it can do one of three things. 1. It can get drained out the bottom by you periodically. 2. If the heater has a bottom swirly thing the some of it will get washed out of the heater when you use hot water and may clog shower heads, faucet aerators and cartridges. 3. The sediment can just settle to the bottom forming an insulating layer of crud that can increase the popping and rumbling sound a gas water heater makes when the burner is firing.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 03:15 PM
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The new one is the same capacity as the old one, but is wider in circumference. The manual for mine doesn't state anything about a recirculating feature and it does recommend in the maintenance section to drain 1 gallon monthly. Hmmm.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 03:20 PM
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Pilot Dane - Seems to me that I should drain periodically then. That "popping and rumbling sound" is exactly what my old one was doing and why I thought it better to replace before it bottomed out. Thank you.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 03:20 PM
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I would still drain off some water at least once a year.
I also don't encourage an insulation blanket on a gas hot water heater.
 
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Old 05-07-19, 09:30 PM
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Water heaters have pretty good insulation on them these days and don't need more. To test this, how hot is the outside of the unit to your touch? Not much different than room temperature because they are so well insulated now.

As to your other question, keep in mind there is a difference between flushing and draining - you drain the heater by closing the intake and opening the spout. You would only do this when moving the unit and keep in mind you would also turn off the gas first. Flushing is simpler as you're just opening the spout but leaving the incoming water and the gas on. This is what you do once or twice a year to remove sediment.
 
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Old 05-08-19, 03:58 AM
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FWIW, Flushing should be done at least semi annually. However, with that being said, over the 70 years of my lifetime, i have never done it on any periodic schedule (maybe once or twice), and all my tanks have worked well with good heat for an average of 10 to 15 years or more. The last unit which I just replaced was 18 years old and still gave good heat. My new tank also does not have drain spigot as such, but a screw mechanism as the OP described. Never bothered to look at how to flush it.

A lot depends on your water conditions. If exceptionally hard water then I would think flushing would be better than not.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:41 AM
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There are a lot of things you should do for periodic upkeep. Exercise your circuit breakers, replace your furnace filters monthly, oil the motors in your furnace, clean your vents and ducts, flush the water heater, etc etc.

For me, flushing the water heater has always been way down at the bottom of the todo list. It may cost a year or two of the life of the heater... maybe? I haven't done it ever to be completely honest. Though I don't floss nearly as often as my dentist says I should either.
 
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Old 05-09-19, 12:33 AM
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I also have the same water heater installed in August. It’s located outside of the house due to city laws to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s in a little room located outside on the side of the house with a glass door. It doesn’t have a blanket and I’ve had no issues with it even when outdoor temperatures hit 32 F
 
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Old 05-09-19, 09:38 AM
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When I asked the plumber how often I should do a drain/flush maintenance, he told me "it is not necessary.
I also agree this is dependent on the water quality. The theory is very little sediment will accumulate. I believe I'd recommend a partial drainage after the first year and see what sediment, if any, comes out. I'd also be careful not to set the temperature too high as this will just create more sediment.

■ Factory Installed Hydrojet® Total Performance System—Cold water inlet
sediment reducing device helps prevent sediment build up in tank. Increases first
hour delivery of hot water while minimizing temperature build up in tank.
I don't believe an insulation blanket is necessary on this new unit.

■ 1" Non-CFC Foam Insulation—Covers the sides and top of tank, reducing the
amount of heat loss. This results in less energy consumption, improved
operation efficiencies and jacket rigidity.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/bradfordwhi..._icon_101b.pdf


The drain spout on the new water heater did not have a turn valve, just a set type screw.

It's a ball valve. A quarter turn with a screwdriver and it's full open. Much better than the old plastic valves on most water heaters these days.
 
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Old 05-09-19, 10:08 PM
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FWIW, we took a heater out of one of our units several years ago and decided to investigate why it was still so heavy after the water was drained - the darn thing was almost full of sediment. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it; just wish it was in the day of smartphones so I would have taken a picture.
 
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Old 05-10-19, 04:47 AM
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so heavy after the water was drained - the darn thing was almost full of sediment.
I can attest to that fact. When I replaced my tank about two months ago I had to saw off the drain valve in order to allow a big enough hole for the water drain out. However, in spite of the sediment, that heater continued to give very hot water till the day I replaced it.

So yea, sediment does build up, but it doesn't make a major effect in most cases. Again I think water condition and very high heat setting will cause it to lessen life.
 
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